GRCC Science Talks Begin this Monday with “Unlocking the Sun”

An image of the sun using Spectroscopy. The sun is depicted in shades of green, brown, and blue.

Unlocking the Sun: Spectroscopy in the 1800s

  • Monday, September 17, 2018, at 3:45 p.m.
  • Calkins Science Center auditorium, Room 348

Have you ever wondered how we know what the sun is made of, even though it’s too hot to visit?

The story of how we discovered the chemical makeup of our own star combines chemistry, physics, and astronomy in a tale of mystery, far-flung expeditions, and unexpected discoveries. After an overview of spectroscopy, assistant professor Lauren Woolsey will take us through the secrets of the sun from this turning point in science history.

Dr. Woolsey is a Harvard-trained expert in astronomy, solar physics, and exoplanets.

Future GRCC Science Talks will include:

  • 11/05/2018: “Species Conservation: How we got here and what can still be done” – 3:45 p.m., Calkins Science Center auditorium, Room 348
  • 02/21/2019: “Epigenetics and Colon Cancer: A tale of mice, microbes, and methyl groups” – 4 p.m., Calkins Science Center auditorium, Room 348
  • 03/25/2019: “Gene Modifications: CRISPR” – 3:45 p.m., Calkins Science Center auditorium, Room 348

Grand Rapids Community College Science Talks are open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

Please email timothyperiard@grcc.edu with any questions.

GRCC Science Talks to tackle the Sun, species conservation in new lecture series

A new series of presentations on a variety of scientific topics begins this academic year. This lecture series is called ‘GRCC Science Talks.’ These lectures are free and open to the public. There will also be light refreshments available. Here are the first two presentations that may be of interest to you and your students this fall 2018 semester:

Unlocking the Sun: Spectroscopy in the 1800s

  • Who: Dr. Lauren Woolsey
  • When: Monday, September 17, 2018, at 3:45 p.m.
  • Where: Calkins Science Center (CSC) Auditorium (Room 348)
  • Description: Have you ever wondered how we know what the Sun is made of, even though it is far too hot for humans to visit? The story of how we discovered the chemical makeup of our own star combines chemistry, physics, and astronomy in a tale of mystery, far-flung expeditions, and unexpected discoveries. After an overview of spectroscopy for general audiences, GRCC Assistant Professor, Dr. Lauren Woolsey will take us through the secrets of the Sun from this turning point in science history.

Species Conservation: How We Got Here and What Can Still Be Done

  • Who: Dr. Greg Forbes
  • When: Monday, November 5, 2018, at 3:45 p.m.
  • Where: Calkins Science Center (CSC) Auditorium (Room 348)
  • Description: An examination of the reasons that animal and plant species are endangered today, the current status of species worldwide, nationally and in Michigan as well as some possible strategies to save some of these species as well as humanity. Dr. Forbes is an evolutionary biologist and a certified wildlife biologist with research experience

We look forward to participating in these events with you and our students. Please email Tim Periard (timothyperiard@grcc.edu) with any questions.

GRCC seismometer records three MORE earthquakes this August

The earthquakes keep rolling in to GRMI!

August continues to be a seismically busy month. GRMI picked up 3 notable earthquakes in the past week. You may not have heard about the magnitude 8.2 earthquake near Fiji on August 19th. That is because, at a depth of 563 km, this “deep-focus” earthquake was too distant to cause any damage on the surface of the Earth.

You may have heard of the widely felt  magnitude 7.3 earthquake that shook Venezuela on August 21st. Large earthquakes are relatively rare in this region and this is the largest historic quake within 250 km of the surface in the last century. Fortunately, this earthquake was also relatively deep (123 km) and caused little damage.

Finally, on the morning of August 22nd, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake was generated on the seafloor off the Oregon coast. The earthquake appears to have been generated where the tiny Juan De Fuca tectonic plate (which is being subducted or shoved under the North American continent) is sliding past the huge Pacific plate. Despite being just 10 km below the sea floor, there was no tsunami generated.

If you are interested in earthquakes recorded by the GRCC seismometer, you can find them on the MIQuakes website.

 

GRMI seismogram of the M8.2 Fiji earthquake on August 19th (red arrow):

Display of the GRMI seismogram reading of the M8.2 Fiji earthquake; a red arrow marks its beginning

GRMI seismogram of the M7.3 earthquake in Venezuela (red arrow) and the M6.2 Oregon earthquake (blue arrow):

Display of the GRMI seismogram reading of the M7.3 Venezuela earthquake, marked with a red arrow, and the M6.2 Oregon earthquake, marked with a blue arrow

Hawaii earthquake recorded on Calkins Center Seismograph

The dramatic events taking place in Hawai`i manifested here in West Michigan as the GRCC seismometer (GRMI) recorded the magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the Big Island of Hawai`i. On May 1st, a series of earthquakes heralded an intrusion of magma into the lower flanks of Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island. Cracks and fissures opened in Leilani Estates, a subdivision close to the town of Pahoa, which was previously threatened by lava flows in 2014. On May 3rd, lava began erupting from fissures in Leilani estates and to date, have destroyed 35 homes and forced the evacuation of over a thousand residents. Earthquakes generated by this activity include the magnitude 6.9 earthquake, recorded by GRMI. This is the largest earthquake in Hawai`i since the 1975.

For more information about the earthquake go to the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology.

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STEM event designed for boys in 6th to 8th grades

GRCC is hosting a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) event for 6-8th grade boys on April 11. The event is to complement the STEM for Girls event GRCC hosted in November and is designed to engage young minds in the fields of science and technology. Participants will do hands-on activities such as building a robot to drawing a picture, designing a method to move ping pong balls without touching them, and solving a forensics mystery. Students also have the opportunity to interact with community role models who work in STEM fields. The cost is $15 and students can register here.